Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 13, Issue 12, pp 959–968 | Cite as

The Chief Executive Officer and corporate social performance: An interdisciplinary examination

  • Anisya S. Thomas
  • Roy L. Simerly


This paper attempts to cross the disciplinary boundaries of strategic management and social issues management to demonstrate the relationship between managerial characteristics and corporate social performance (CSP). Drawing on studies in strategic leadership research we develop and test hypotheses about linkages between top management attributes and different levels of CSP. Our results add credence to the argument that organizations are a reflection of their top managers, and encourage further systematic research of the influence of key executives in developing and implementing socially responsible policies and programs.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Bantel, K. A. and S. E. Jackson: 1989, ‘Top Management and Innovations in Banking: Does the Composition of the Top Team Make a Difference?’,Strategic Management Journal 10, 107–124.Google Scholar
  2. Caminiti, S.: 1992, ‘The Payoff From a Good Reputation’,Fortune, Feb 10, 74–77.Google Scholar
  3. Carroll, A. B.: 1979, ‘A Three-Dimensional Conceptual Model of Corporate Social Performance’,Academy of Management Review 4, 497–505.Google Scholar
  4. Chaganti, R. and R. Sambharya: 1987, ‘Strategic Orientation and Characteristics of Upper Management’,Strategic Management Journal 8, 393–401.Google Scholar
  5. Cyert, R. M. and J. G. March: 1963,A Behavioral Theory of the Firm, (Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, NJ).Google Scholar
  6. Dearborn, D. C. and H. A. Simon: 1958, ‘Selective Perceptions A Note on the Departmental Identifications of Executives’,Sociometry 4(21), 140–144.Google Scholar
  7. Epstein, E. M.: 1987, ‘The Corporate Social Policy Process; Beyond Ethics, Corporate Social Responsibility and Corporate Social Responsiveness’,California Management Review 29, 3: 99–114.Google Scholar
  8. Fombrun, C. and M. Shanley, M: 1990, ‘What's in a Name? Reputation Building and Corporate Strategy’,Academy of Management Journal 33, 233–258.Google Scholar
  9. Fredrickson, J. W.: 1985, ‘Effects of Decision Motive and Organizational Performance Level on Strategic Decision Processes’,Academy of Management Journal 28, 821–843.Google Scholar
  10. Gupta, A. K. and V. Govindarajan: 1984, ‘Business Unit Strategy, Managerial Characteristics and Business Unit Effectiveness at Strategy Implementation’,Academy of Management Journal 27, 25–41.Google Scholar
  11. Gupta, A. K.: 1986, ‘Matching Managers to Strategy: Point and Counterpoint’,Human Resource Management 25, 215–234.Google Scholar
  12. Gupta, A. K.: 1988, ‘Contingency Perspectives on Strategic Leadership: Current Knowledge and Future Research Directions’ in D. C. Hambrick (ed.)The Executive effect: Concepts and methods for studying top managers (JAI Press, Greenwich, CT), pp. 147–178.Google Scholar
  13. Hambrick, D. C. and S. Finkelstein: 1987, ‘Managerial Discretion: A Bridge Between Polar Views on Organizations’, in L. L. Cummings and Barry M. Staw (eds.),Research in Organizational Behavior (JAI Press, Greenwich, CT), pp. 369–406.Google Scholar
  14. Hambrick, D. C. and P. A. Mason: 1984, ‘Upper Echelons: The Organization as a Reflection of its Top Managers’,Academy of Management Review 9, 193–206.Google Scholar
  15. Hofstede, G.: 1980,Culture's Consequences: International Differences in Work Related Values (Sage Publications, Beverly Hills, CA).Google Scholar
  16. Hosmer, L. R.: 1982, ‘The Importance of Strategic Leadership’,Journal of Business Strategy 1, 33–41.Google Scholar
  17. Kotter, J. P.: 1982,The General Managers, (The Free Press, New York, NY).Google Scholar
  18. March, J. G. and H. A. Simon: 1958,Organizations, (Wiley, New York, NY).Google Scholar
  19. McGuire, J. B., A. Sundgren and T. Schneeweis: 1988, ‘Corporate Social Responsibility and Firm Financial Performance’,Academy of Management Journal 31, 854–872.Google Scholar
  20. Miller, D.: 1991, ‘Stale in the Saddle: CEO Tenure and the Match Between Organization and the Environment’,Management Science 37, 117–130.Google Scholar
  21. Miller, D., M. F. R. Kets de Vries and J. M. Toulouse: 1982, ‘Top Executive Locus of Control and its Relationship to Strategy Making, Structure and Environment’,Academy of Management Journal 25, 237–253.Google Scholar
  22. Mintzberg, H: 1978, ‘Patterns in Strategy Formation’,Management Science 24, 934–948.Google Scholar
  23. Pfeffer, J: 1983, ‘Organizational Demography’, in L. L. Cummings and Barry M. Staw (eds.),Research in Organizational Behavior (JAI Press, Greenwich, CT), pp. 299–357.Google Scholar
  24. Pfeffer, J. and G. R. Salancik: 1977, ‘Organizational Context and the Characteristics and Tenure of Hospital Administrators’,Academy of Management Journal 20, 74–88.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Quinn, J. B.: 1991, ‘Strategies for Change’, in J. B. Quinn, H. Mintzberg and R. James,The Strategy Process: Concepts, Contexts and Cases (Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ), pp 4–6.Google Scholar
  26. Sharfman, M.: 1993, ‘A Construct Validity Study of the KLD Social Performance Data’, in Dennis Collins (ed.),Proceedings of the International Association of Business and Society 4, 551–556.Google Scholar
  27. Stinchcombe, A. L., M. S. McDill and D. R. Walker: 1968, ‘Demography of Organizations’,American Journal of Sociology 74, 221–229.Google Scholar
  28. Sturdivant, F. D. and J. L. Ginter: 1977, ‘Corporate Social Responsiveness: Management Attitudes and Economic Performance’,California Management Review 19, 30–39.Google Scholar
  29. Thomas, A. S., R. J. Litschert and K. Ramaswamy: 1991, ‘The Performance Impact of Strategy-Manager Coalignment: An Empirical Examination’,Strategic Management Journal 12, 509–522.Google Scholar
  30. Walton, C. C.: 1969,Ethos and the Executive (Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ).Google Scholar
  31. Wartick, S. L.: 1988, ‘How Issues Management Contributes to Corporate Performance’,Business Forum 13, 16–22.Google Scholar
  32. Wartick, S. L. and P. L. Cochran: 1985, ‘The Evolution of the Corporate Social Performance Model’,Academy of Management Review 10, 758–769.Google Scholar
  33. Wiersema, M. F. and K. A. Bantel: 1992, ‘Top Management Team Demography and Corporate Strategic Change’,Academy of Management Journal 35, 91–121.Google Scholar
  34. Wokutch, R. E. and B. A. Spencer: 1987, ‘Corporate Saints and Sinners: The Effects of Philanthropic and Illegal Activity on Organizational Performance’,California Management Review 29(2), 62–77.Google Scholar
  35. Wood, D. J.: 1991a, ‘Social Issues in Management: Theory and Research in Corporate Social Performance’,Journal of Management 17, 383–406.Google Scholar
  36. Wood, D. J.: 1991b, ‘Corporate Social Performance Revisited’,Academy of Management Journal 16, 691–718.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anisya S. Thomas
    • 1
  • Roy L. Simerly
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Management and International BusinessFlorida International UniversityMiamiUSA

Personalised recommendations